|Non Voters and Teen Moms
11/11/2015 5:04:05 PM
By Barney Blakeney
In the Nov. 3 election I just knew Black folks would step up to the plate, go out to the polls and elect some of the new people emerging on the political horizon in North Charleston. My editor insisted Black folks would stay home, especially if it rained. He was right.
Mind you, white folks didn’t go out to vote either. But they don’t have to. The system is designed to work in their favor no matter who is elected.
White folks’ issues are more about methods than results. The I-526 question for white folks is about traffic and congestion. Hell Black folks still are catching the bus anyway! Even those of us who share white folks’ concerns have bigger issues with which to grapple - like how their kids going to pay off college loans and where they’re going to find work.
My editor suggested I write a story asking why Black folks didn’t vote. Good question, but I suspect it’s so complicated, it might take the better part of a year just to find the resources to get the answers. But right off the top of my head, I can think of a number of reasons why Black folks should have voted.
Crime rates in Black communities are going through the roof! Every week another young Black male is killed. Who knows why? Pick a reason. And I hate to sound like white folks, but it seems every young Black girl I see walking the streets has a baby. Lately it seems more of them mare pushing one in a stroller and pulling another by the hand.
Now I know that all our little princesses are teen mothers, just as I know not all young Black males are illegal drug-dealing murderous thugs. But I’m seeing a lot of young mothers and it doesn’t seem as if they’ve got husbands anywhere.
It’s been a minute since I looked at the stats for teen pregnancies, but a couple of years ago I wrote a story about some 30 girls at Burke High reported being pregnant.
In 2010 I wrote a story. It went, “Burke High ranks only second among the district’s high schools with the greatest number of reported pregnancies since 2008. Stall High led the district with 106 reported pregnancies, followed by Burke with 80 pregnancies, North Charleston High with 79 pregnancies and West Ashley High with 68. Over the past three years an average 157 students in Charleston County schools each year were found to be pregnant.”
High crime and teen pregnancies are just two of the issues prevalent in Black communities. Black communities are plagued with so many issues detrimental to our well being, it’s incomprehensible why we don’t make the connection between politics and our quality of life. Why don’t we understand how politics in America affects us daily?
I’m convinced its our leadership. We’ve got some dummies in leadership positions. I don’t think most of them understand how dumb they are. And some others among our leadership are just corrupt. They sell us out for the scraps from the white man’s table. But ultimately, we must ask ourselves who are the real dummies - those we put in positions or those of us who put them in positions?
I’m often accused of self hatred when I write stuff like this. Trust me. I don’t hate myself or Black people. Ain’t nobody I love more. But we have to face some ugly realities. And beyond facing those realities, we must respond to them in ways that push us forward toward a better place.
I talked with A.J. Davis prior to last week’s North Charleston municipal elections. Davis, who is president of the Chicora/Cherokee Neighborhood Association, was a candidate in the council Dist. 10 election won by Michael Brown. Davis is one of those young bulls who, with wisdom beyond their years, asked for an opportunity to make a difference.
“I can’t help but feel there is an air of opposition to a new, younger crowd of folks in the Black community,” Davis wrote in a recent email. “I am challenging those in my community and others, to show they want better. That they have a right to live in a city that is not developed without them in mind and without their input. I challenge them to go out and vote.” That didn’t happen Nov. 3.